I have stated in the past that I believe we are in that kairos (Greek word meaning an appointed time, a strategic time on God’s calendar, and not simply chronology) time when the deception of wickedness is abounding, and people will not endure sound teaching, but will instead seek for teachers who will “tickle” their ears (II Timothy 4:3,4). There is much talk about “being spiritual,” being more God-focused, and so on; but, is being spiritual and God-focused tantamount to being born again? Can we know that we have eternal life, and if so; how do we know?
Recently I preached a sermon entitled, “Examine Yourselves” in which we explored what the Bible has to say about how we can know if we are “saved,” or “born -again” – in Christ. I wanted to break the sermon down into a series of posts and present it here, at NLI; so, for the next few weeks we’ll be looking at salvation, sola scriptura (by scripture alone).
I John 5: 13 states that John has written his letter to the people so that they may know that they have eternal life. He goes on to say in verses 19 & 20 “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
Paul exhorted the Corinthians in II Cor. 13:5 to examine themselves and see whether or not they were in the faith. Back in the Old Testament , in Psalms 26: 2 (NASB), David asked the Lord to examine him and test him, to try his heart and his mind. In this kairos moment in which we live, we need to be able to examine, to discern truth and lies, to know what is of God and what is not. Just because someone sings a gospel song on American Idol, or feeds the hungry, or fights for justice, or prophesies, or performs miracles, does not mean the person is of God.
In so many fellowships today we hear of this one or that one who has fallen away, again. They are in and out, “on fire” for two months and then back in the world, and then back in church for a while, then out again, etc… Has anybody besides me ever resembled that remark? Maybe we don’t have people who are continuously falling away; maybe we have folks who have never truly been converted, who have never truly been born again by the Spirit of God.
There are also precious saints of God that the devil continuously lies to, telling them that they are not saved because they have ongoing struggles in areas of their lives. These dear ones stay beaten down, and confused by the liar and accuser of the brethren who says, “A real Christian wouldn’t struggle like that, you’re not even really saved, you may as well go on and give in ‘cause you’re a fake!” Can you be a real disciple and have issues and struggles? We’re gonna talk about these things during this series.
Sometimes, when we talk about these things we may be tempted to get angry or defensive. We sometimes try to conform the Bible to our lives instead of the Bible conforming us. We might think, “Who does this preacher think he is?” Pardon my English; but, “I aint nobody.” I have to examine myself as well. I’m guilty of every sin in the book, and I’m by no means perfect. I came to a place in my life (by God’s grace and mercy) when I realized that in spite of my experiences, in spite of what I thought, according to the Bible, I did not know the Lord. And then you know what He did? He didn’t condemn me, he didn’t reject me; no, he saved me. He caused me to be born again by His Spirit and not by my own will or endeavors. He set me free and I didn’t have to “try to be a good Christian” any more. And you know what, He’s still saving me, forgiving me, and setting me free today.
To be continued…